I have a bunch of friends who are not Muslims and almost 90 percent of them fond of saying the same thing – that Muslims are bad, they like torturing and killing Christians just because they refuse to convert to Islam bla bla bla!
I can’t completely blame them though. We have to face the reality here my friend – much of the Islamic world has indeed lost sight of true and essential Islamic teachings concerning religious freedom.
But it’s kinda weird you know?
Anyway, the good thing is that there are other people who are now able to understand issues clearly when it comes to religious freedom in Islam but if you are one those who have still been searching for truth, this article is for you.
I have decided to write this article to stress the fact that Islam encourages tolerance and doesn’t accept the killing or torturing of someone just because he or she is not a Muslim.
The Holy Qur’an clearly states that there is no compulsion in the matters of religion. This is because faith is an individual concern and commitment, between you and the One God.
“There should be no compulsion in religion…”
(Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 256)
Seen that? Accepting or converting to Islamic religion is an individual choice. Nobody should force you to do it. The thing is, if you force someone to accept your faith, it becomes hollow – while in actual fact, Islam requires someone’s total conviction. The person should be able to find the truth through his or own path.
Still not convinced? Let’s move on!
Chapter 10, Verse 99, of the Holy Qur’an says:
“And if your Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together.
Will you, then, force men to become believers?”
My dear, we all know how powerful God is. He makes things possible by simply saying Be and It is. If he wanted, as the above verse states, it could have been possible for Him to make us be of one religion. But look! He gave us choices. So where the hell is this thing we hear other people taking innocent souls just because they are not Muslims?
And there is this very beautiful chapter which also explains clearly that you are free to choose your own path, Don’t force a Muslim to worship what you worship; likewise a Muslim should not force his or her beliefs upon you.
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, ever Merciful,
Say, O ye disbelievers, I worship not as you worship,
Nor do you worship as I worship
Nor do I worship those that you worship
Nor do you worship Him Whom I worship,
For you your religion and for me my religion.” Qur’an, Sura Al-Kafirun (109)
“But Marshall we hear and “know” that Islam was spread by sword. It is well documented.”
Okay? Really? But do you know that our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) actively promoted peace, tolerance and compassion for all non-Muslim minorities? To him, it was not simply about demanding religious tolerance of his followers; but he laid down the foundations to provide legal and constitutional protections for religious minorities.
For example, he sent letters to various kings surrounding Arabia declaring his intention for peace and cooperation. One such letter was written to the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery of Mount Sinai in 628 A.D. and known today as the “Charter of Privileges.”
The letter reads:
“This is a message from Muhammad, son of Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian it married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation of (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
I will not comment much on that letter because it is loud and clear. However, I may finish with this verse from the Holy Qur’an which says:
We have indeed sent down signs that make things manifest: and Allah guides whom He wills to a way that is straight.